Adopt-a-Street with Your School: Raising a More Sustainable Community

Adopt-a-Street with your school and raise a more sustainable community! This past weekend my kids and I participated in our city’s “Trash Bash.” Together, organized with volunteers from the local school, we covered roughly a mile stretch of local road to remove trash that might otherwise end up in the ditches and waterways.

Know Your Snakes! Part II…

Our second encounter was during the final weeks of summer vacation during a jaunt up Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. The prior week I had taken the kiddos up a quick access falls trail across …

The Hairstreak Butterfly Mystery

After lunch, house quiet with kids playing or away at one of their day camps, I pop out into the garden to investigate and tend, always finding a pleasant mystery to share with the littles. …

Austin – Where are the Bats?

It turned out to be more of a spectacle of watching the bat watchers than anything else – there was even a topless kayaker with a rainbow colored lit up boat using his paddle to film and shoot selfies (and perhaps bats). And we could certainly hear the bats, at least from our under the bridge location. And above the bridge, you could certainly smell the bats. Wouldn’t want to miss out on that experience. That’s when you know you’re close!

Summer Days: Observing profound transformation right before our eyes.

Kids are out of school and summer is in full swing. It’s only been a few weeks, but we, including the flora and fauna are settled right into the rhythm of its abundant days and …

Foster Cat : Our first black swallowtail caterpillar of 2019!

It began with a little egg or two with the kiddos checking on them every morning and after school to make sure they were still there! The pest control insects and birds have been very …

School Walks and Car Talks

As most families do, the kids and I spend a lot of time driving from one place to the next whether it be sports or school events, but we do make it a point to …

Naturalist turned stay-at-home-mom. In Texas!

Thanks for joining this naturalist, turned stay-at-home-mom (dare I use its acronym??) – in Texas!

I am a naturalist turned stay-at-home-mom. In Texas! But what does this really mean.

Delving deeper, I’ve always been pulled toward all things nature. It’s my go-to for sense of self, comfort, place, beauty, teacher… home.  If you’d asked my younger self if I’d be a stay-at-home-mom with three littles in a subdivision of Texas, I would have thought you nuts.  Me?! All up in the school PTA business. In and out of various mom’s groups. Face painting at pre-school parties. Just finding it hard to say no to really anything good regarding kids. Enjoying it all of course. But the naturalist in me always feels a twinge of strange. Some irregularity.

I’ve always been pulled toward all things nature. It’s my go to for sense of self, comfort, place, beauty, teacher… home.

Enter Suburbia.

I ultimately met the man of my dreams. And in order to get by in an average American community, our family found ourselves in the depths of suburbia’s seemingly endless HOA’S, painstakingly manicured green, fertilized lawns, void of anything but… green.  It is a ritual background of mind numbing lawnmowers and leaf blowers.  With a whole list of chemicals in order to secure that green. Carbon copy neighborhoods of what, to me, feels like a painful going against the grain.

So the question stands. How does this suburbanized mom come to terms with our children greeting this everyday structure? How does this naturalist, turned stay-at-home-mom cope with this Texas, but more than that, increasingly universal scene?

What is normal?

Naturalist turned stay-at-home-mom.  In Texas!  Photo of typical suburban home by Milly Eaton for Pexels.
Photo by Milly Eaton from Pexels.

Thinking back to my younger self, I vividly remember my first viewing of “Edward Scissorhands” – the scene where all the neighbor husbands leave identical driveways for work in what seems like endless suburbia.  As a kid, I too lived in a similar, newly constructed community. And although it bordered wilderness, I suddenly found my childhood streets a starkly strange and alien environment.  Thus begging questions… Why the copycat lawns?  Why fight nature with strange smelling fertilizer pellets and pesticides to create a false version of what is already strikingly beautiful, just up the hill and down the way. (My kid brain’s idea of beauty survived on only sunshine, snowmelt and a rare summer storm. And oh! The treasures!) Fast forward to today and these suburbias remain community baselines.

Naturalist stay-at-home-mom takes a closer look.

As you can see, I may live with babes in subdivided “bliss,” but my own inner child is at odds with what they see on a day to day basis.  In other words, we keep our children cocooned from something beautiful and much greater right before their eyes, if we’d only take the time to look. How can a naturalist turned stay-at-home-mom delve deeper with her kids into that which is the real Texas? How does one step past the facade we’ve laid out for ourselves, much like the black screens we gaze into day to day (and even into the night)?

Nobody sees a flower really. It is so small it takes time. We haven’t time.

And to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

-Georgia O’Keeffe

The wonders of the natural world await if we could only take the time.